Blues in Orbit [Bonus Tracks]

Blues in Orbit [Bonus Tracks]

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by Duke Ellington
     
 

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Blues in Orbit lacks the intellectual cachet of the suites and concept pieces that loomed large in Ellington's recordings of this period, but it's an album worth tracking down, if only to hear the band run through a lighter side of its sound. Indeed, it captures the essence of a late-night recording date that was as much a loose jam as aSee more details below

Overview

Blues in Orbit lacks the intellectual cachet of the suites and concept pieces that loomed large in Ellington's recordings of this period, but it's an album worth tracking down, if only to hear the band run through a lighter side of its sound. Indeed, it captures the essence of a late-night recording date that was as much a loose jam as a formal studio date, balancing the spontaneity of the former and the technical polish of the latter. Ellington and company were just back from a European tour when the bulk of this album was recorded, at one after-midnight session in New York on December 2, 1959, with arrangements that had to be hastily written out when the copyist failed to appear for the gig. So on the one hand, the band was kicking back with these shorter pieces; on the other, the group was also improvising freely and intensely at various points. The title track, recorded more than a year before most of the rest, is a slow blues that puts Ellington's piano into a call-and-response setting with the horns, with Ellington getting in the last word. "Villes Ville Is the Place, Man" is a bracing, beat-driven jaunt, highlighted by solos featuring Ray Nance, Harry Carney, and Johnny Hodges on trumpet, baritone sax, and alto, respectively. "Three J's Blues" shows off composer Jimmy Hamilton playing some earthy tenor sax in a swinging, exuberant blues setting. "Smada" features Billy Strayhorn on piano and Johnny Hodges on alto, in a stirring dance number. "Pie Eye's Blues" is a hot studio improvisation featuring Ray Nance and Jimmy Hamilton trading three solos each, while Ellington's piano and the rest of the band try their emphatic best to get in a word or two. Nance shows up on violin as part of a string of soloists (including Matthew Gee, Paul Gonsalves, Booty Wood, and Jimmy Hamilton) for "C Jam Blues," whose four minutes' running time affords the group a chance to jam without overdoing it or extending matters past the breaking point. Wood is the featured player on muted trombone on the slow, smooth "Sweet and Pungent." A pair of more reflective, less extroverted numbers show off the more subtle side of the band: the slow, downbeat "Blues in Blueprint," with Jimmy Woode's bass and Harry Carney's bass clarinet as the major featured players, with Strayhorn sitting in on piano and Ellington snapping his fingers; and "The Swingers Get the Blues, Too," featuring Matthew Gee on baritone horn. The finale, "The Swinger's Jump," does just that, with Ellington, Hodges, Nance, Gee, Hamilton (on tenor and clarinet), Wood, and drummer Jimmy Johnson Jr. romping and stomping all over the basic riff. The CD edition of Blues in Orbit offered a trio of tracks off the same sessions when the album came: the bracing "Track 360," an unpretentious jazz band's impression of a train ride; the soaring, lovely "Brown Penny," a number originally written for Ellington's attempted interracial musical Beggar's Holiday 13 years earlier; and the moody, reflective "Sentimental Lady," featuring Johnny Hodges very prominently. Blues in Orbit was issued on CD by Columbia Records in 1988. This 2004, 24-bit remastered edition includes eight bonus tracks, including a previously unreleased version of the title cut that far surpasses the original and stands as a real anomaly in the Ellington catalog for Ellington's impressionistic soloing.

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/01/2008
Label:
Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC:
0886972414225
catalogNumber:
724142
Rank:
10429

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Duke Ellington   Primary Artist,Piano
Cat Anderson   Trumpet
Paul Gonsalves   Tenor Saxophone
Johnny Hodges   Alto Saxophone
Ray Nance   Trumpet,Violin
Shorty Baker   Trumpet
Matthew Gee   Trombone,Baritone Horn
Booty Wood   Trombone
Jimmy Woode   Bass,Double Bass
Russell Procope   Clarinet,Alto Saxophone
Quentin Jackson   Trombone
Britt Woodman   Trombone
Harry Carney   Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone
Clark Terry   Trumpet
Bill Graham   Alto Saxophone
Jimmy Hamilton   Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Johnson   Drums
John Sanders   Trombone
Billy Strayhorn   Piano
Sam Woodyard   Drums
Jimmy Johnson   Drums
Johnny Sanders   Trombone
Edward Kennedy Ellington   Indexed Contributor

Technical Credits

Matthew Gee   Composer
James Hamilton   Composer
Barney Bigard   Composer
Michael Cuscuna   Reissue Producer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Lowell Frank   Engineer
Milt Gabler   Composer
John Latouche   Composer
Teo Macero   Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Fred Plaut   Engineer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Irving Townsend   Producer,Audio Production
Mark Wilder   Remixing,Mastering
Michael Brooks   Reissue Producer
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Jay Maisel   Cover Photo
Patricia Willard   Liner Notes
Triana DOrazio   Packaging Manager

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